Allie X is about to be your new pop obsession, and she took us through her new album ‘CollXtion II’ track by track. We also talked about possible ghost sightings, her favorite jokes from fans, and more!
Allie X stopped by HollywoodLife.com in June for an exclusive interview and photo shoot, which you can check out in the gallery above. Oh, and download, stream or buy a hard copy of her excellent new album CollXtion II — whatever you’ve gotta do. This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
I’m so happy you’re here! I feel like we don’t know a lot about you. You’re an enigma.
I know, I’ve tried to keep it that way, but now there’s a Wikipedia page…[laughs] but it’s fine! I feel like I’ve opened up over the course of my career the last few years.
What are you usually up to when you’re not touring?
I write, for other artists as well. I don’t socialize really. I have a couple of close friends, but I spend a lot of time by myself at home.
Speaking of writing, there are a couple of bangers on this album. In fact, you could say it is front-to-back filled with bangers.
Thank you. There is no higher compliment. Except maybe “bop.”
I’m trying to get “jam and a half” to catch on.
Oh, “jam and a half?” Yeah, work that one into the lingo!
What inspired CollXtion II?
It’s about identity; the loss and reclamation of one’s identity. Each song represents a piece of me, whether it’s a dream or a memory or just my interpretation of reality. It’s about how to put all those pieces back together, and I don’t have an answer, I’m just sort of presenting the question.
The artwork for the record is very cool, too.
It took a long time to make, and I’m really happy with how it came together. I’m trying to put my leg back together, and the idea is that I’ve become a fragmented and disassembled person. I’m trying to see how the pieces all fit together.
And is that a dunce cap you’re wearing?
It is a dunce cap! It represents shame and embarrassment, which is a feeling that I’ve dealt a lot with. It also represents a large part of the pain of being alive and losing those pieces of yourself.
I want to mention the photos you took in the abandoned insane asylums. Have you ever seen a ghost?
[Pauses] …It was weird. That place had a crazy vibe. We went to a separate building and there were people in there — I think they were people — and they were trying to freak us out, like banging and saying, [scary voice] “They’re coming to kill you,” like doing these crazy voices. They never showed themselves. They started freaking us out!
Taken moments before we were chased out of the asylum by ghosts. True story.
📷 Brendon Burton pic.twitter.com/pem2vYpbzG
— 🙅🏻 ALLIE X 🙅🏻 (@alliex) June 15, 2017
Let’s talk about your music videos. There’s a lot of spinning going on…
[Laughs] I can explain the spinning thing. When I was a kid, kids spin around and get really dizzy, then you fall and you’re still spinning. When I say “feeling X,” that’s what it feels like for me, this idea that you wind yourself up so that you can fall down and the world still spins around you, instead of you spinning yourself. You have to keep winding yourself up to get that feeling, and that’s how I am in life, constantly spinning and confused about why I’m here, who I am…
Love it. Now, it’s not on the new album, but “Prime” is one of my favorites.
That one has a warm spot in my heart. I was in Toronto when I wrote it, and it helped me get to L.A. The first melody came to me in the shower! I was listening to Grimes at the time, Marina and the Diamonds — I love her — Men Without Hats, Phil Collins.
And “Bitch” is kind of viral because of that video of the girl on the bull — do you know about that?
That and the movie Closet Monster have made “Bitch” my most popular song. Yeah, that bronco meme is so good.
A lot of the top comments on the YouTube page are about that. There are also a lot of mentions of wigs…I think you know where I’m going with this.
[Laughs] I know, if I see a meme involving a wig, I know I’ve done my job. But the ones that have really been getting me lately are like, “Depression: cured. Dad: moved back. Acne: cleared up.”
So good. Now that the album is out, can we expect a US tour?
Yeah! I can’t elaborate yet. I do want to come back to New York.
What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve played?
I did a really fun show at a night called Strut! at a gay club in New York, and it was so packed that I had to stand on like a bench. It was so wild.
What’s the first thing you feel when you step onstage?
I get so nervous when I step onstage, then I’m like, “Okay, bitch, time to do this. Time to do ‘Bitch.’”
Will there be more videos for this album?
Yes! I just shot one on Sunday in L.A.! Hopefully it’ll be out by the end of the month.
Stream CollXtion II below, then see Allie break it down.
I was in the kitchen making dinner or something, and the “da da da” riff came into my head. I recorded a voice memo and put it away, then revisited it months later. It’s about self-sacrifice and knowing something is going to rip you apart, but doing it anyway.
Troye Sivan wrote on that. It’s so old — I wrote that hook melody 2 years ago! I could never crack the production, but I refused to give up on it. Finally in the summer, I came up with the [lyrical] concept and finished it in L.A. with Troye. It’s a fantasy. It’s somewhat heartfelt, but from a distance.
It was the last song to make the album. What you hear is pretty much what it sounded like the day it was written — super minimal.
I really like doing that one live. I wrote it with [Clarence] Coffee, a writer from The Monsters & Strangerz. I was following his lead on that and he had this inspiration.
This used to be a completely different song! It was written in 2013, it was called “Love F*cked,” it was for a guy, a different tempo…I just couldn’t let go of, [sings] “da da daa daa, da da daa daa.” I finally cracked that one. It’s about getting high in whatever way you need to. I picture myself floating above everybody and being like, “f*ck it all.”
Jungle George wrote that after he heard my song “Bitch.” It’s about an imaginary friend, being stuck in your own head, the duality of one person and how you navigate that.
“Old Habits Die Hard”
There’s an existing version, a fan favorite, and I felt it needed a few tweaks. It’s way more drum and bass-focused now.
“That’s So Us”
That’s the most kitschy-pop one for sure, but it comes from a real place.
Another melody that would have died, had I let go of it! It completely changed, production-wise.
“True Love Is Violent”
That was a one-session song. I’ve always loved it.